03/13/20: The NCAA will no longer play this year’s basketball tournaments



Friday March 13, 2020

Following news that the NBA was suspending game play due to precautions as a result of the coronavirus, the dam officially burst as nearly every other major league in action quickly followed suit. Perhaps the biggest news was that – following announcements that the the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 were among the conferences cancelling this basketball tournaments – the NCAA pulled the plug on both the men’s and women’s tournaments, as part of a move to cancel all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships.

NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors announced the move yesterday afternoon, noting that the decision is based on “the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.”


Major League Baseball is delaying the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks in response to the coronavirus pandemic, while ending spring training. “MLB will announce the effects on the schedule at an appropriate time and will remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible,” MLB said in a statement.

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman hit the pause button on the NHL season, noting that is was inappropriate to play games at this time. “We will continue to monitor all the appropriate medical advice, and we will encourage our players and other members of the NHL community to take all reasonable precautions – including by self-quarantine, where appropriate. Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup. Until then, we thank NHL fans for your patience and hope you stay healthy.”

MLS suspended its season for 30 days while the U.S. Soccer Federation canceled scheduled friendlies, the organizations announced. “Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season — based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees,” said MLS Commissioner Don Gerber in a statement. “We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”

In addition to the NBA’s suspending play, when the league announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19, the NBA G League has also suspended operations for the 2019-20 season. The WNBA, meanwhile, noted that it would continue to monitor the situation leading into the start of its own season later in the Spring. NBA owners, meanwhile, are encouraging Commissioner Adam Silver to reevaluate the league’s

The Association of Tennis Professionals suspended its tour for six weeks as a result of concerns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said, “This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide. However, we believe this is the responsible action needed at this time in order to protect the health and safety of our players, staff, the wider tennis community and general public health in the face of this global pandemic.” The ITF also announced Thursday that it was suspending play until at least April 20.

The NFL said Thursday that the league it has “no plans to move the start of the league year” as a result of the coronavirus crisis, per ESPN. The NFL’s statement comes after several teams have restricted travel for their coaches and scouts because of the virus. The league, however, did cancel its annual meeting that was scheduled to be held in West Palm Beach from March 29-April 1.

NASCAR is humming quietly over the next couple of weeks, announcing “At this time, NASCAR will hold its race events at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway without fans in attendance. These events will be restricted to competitors, crews, officials and other necessary personnel to conduct the race. We will work with public health officials as we determine future scheduling beyond these events.”

The National Lacrosse League is also hitting the brakes, and “determined that it is in the best interests of our fans, our players, our coaches and our staff to temporarily suspend play until further notice due to concerns over COVID-19. We will continue to evaluate this situation and remain in constant communication with health, team, business and league officials across North America. Security and safety is our top priority and focus in these challenging and unprecedented times, and we will continue to provide updates on resumption and rescheduling of play as they are determined.”

Have you seen who will be honored on April 24th in NYC?

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US Soccer sponsors Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Nike, and Deloitt, among others, reportedly condemned comments from the United States Soccer Federation after news broke that US Soccer lawyers wrote that that “it is undisputed that the job of [Men’s National Team] player requires materially more strength and speed than the job of [Women’s National Team] player.” It also added that “the job of MNT players carries more responsibility than the job of a WNT player” in a move to dismiss a discrimination lawsuit filed by members of the 2019 World Cup championship team. “We have asked to meet with them immediately to express our concerns. The Coca-Cola Co. is firm in its commitment to gender equality, fairness and women’s empowerment in the United States and around the world and we expect the same from our partners,” the brand stated, according to the WSJ. US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro subsequently apologized.


Formula 1 and Sportradar are teaming up to launch a new, live in-race betting markets ahead of the 2020 season. Sportradar will deliver a range of pre-race and in-race markets to betting operators, with live data taken directly from the track on race day and made available from each of the Grands Prix in this year’s F1 World Championship.

FloSports announced a partnership with ESPN that will expand its European programming with the upcoming 2020 NCAA Division I Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships and the Division I Wrestling Championships. Through the partnership, FloSports will exclusively broadcast these live events across Europe, with the exception of England, Ireland, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).


Comscore locked in a new partnership with Twitch that will add tagless audience reporting of Twitch livestreaming, including gaming and esports insights, to Comscore digital audience solutions, providing a “complete, unduplicated view into digital consumption behaviors.” The partnership makes available third-party data and insights into Twitch’s engaged audiences in the U.S. and Canada. Advertisers will now have an enhanced ability to understand Twitch livestreaming video consumption habits, engage directly with key audience segments and make smarter, more accurate campaign decisions. Comscore is working to expand the integration with Twitch to other areas, such as the launch of additional markets and roll out of category- and genre-level reporting.

Back to the coronavirus, Riot announced that the LEC will no longer host a live audience nor on-site press at the LEC Studio for the remainder of the 2020 Spring Split, including the Finals, due to the rising concerns over the pandemic. This decision follows Riot’s decision to suspend all live audience, tailgates, and press activities from the LCS Studios in Los Angeles.

Twitch continues to lock in key talent to remain with the platform, this time signing heavyweight Dr Disrespect to an exclusive, multi-year deal. “Twitch is where I built my Champions Club empire and will continue to entertain the millions of fans looking for me to dominate the competition,” said Dr Disrespect, per ESPN. “Gaming related content will redefine entertainment and I am looking forward to leading the way.”

ESL and Valve announced that ESL One Los Angeles has been postponed as a result of precautions from the coronavirus. The companies are now looking for a new tie and location for the Dota 2 Major.


A nutty and alarming week for sure.
Fox commentator Tim Brando who called the truncated Big East Tournament (cancelled at halftime) was the first to talk about the disturbing disconnect between the NCAA and the individual conferences.
Apparently, NCAA president Mark Emmert didn’t consult with conference presidents on his initial decision to play the NCAA Tourney without general spectators. Tim suggested that this led to a lack of uniformity among the conferences on whether to play or cancel individual league tournaments. In other word, there was a lack of guidance from the NCAA that caused some chaos yesterday.

Where does the coronavirus stack up against these other outside-the-lines sports disruptions?
9/11, Magic Johnson’s 1991 announcement that he had AIDS, President Ronald Reagan being shot on the day of the NCAA title game in 1981,tThe 1972 Munich Olympics, the Orioles playing without fans in 2015 when there was unrest on the streets of Baltimore, NFL games being played just after President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, the bombing of Pearl Harbor during NFL games in December 7, 1941 and Darryl Stingley paralyzed by a ferocious hit on the football field in 1978.
In all these instances, it seemed like sports just didn’t matter very much.

The Players Championship is the biggest sports event on TV this weekend.
Great interview with Golf Channel’s controversial personality, Brandel Chamblee. Brandel Chamblee shares his strong views freely; Golf Channel and NBC have The Players Championship

Happy Birthdays and many happy returns:

Sid Hartman March 15 – Turns 100! Longtime Minneapolis sportswriter and broadcaster who remains active.

Bob Ley March 16 – An ESPN original in 1979 who retired last year

Dave Wills March 16 – Popular radio announcer for the Tampa Bay Rays

Charlie Slowes March 16 – Radio Voice – Washington Nationals

Tracy Wolfson March 17 – Irrepressible sideline reporter for CBS Sports

Dan McLaughlin March 18 – St. Louis Cardinals television announcer

Tim Neverett March 19 – Los Angeles Dodgers radio and TV announcer


THE PLAYERS Championship (Final Round) on Sunday at 1p on NBC.

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On This Day
1960: The NFL’s Chicago Cardinals move to St Louis.

In the Know
Who was known as the Kansas Comet? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Which NBA player made a cameo in the 2016 film “Office Christmas Party”? Answer: Jimmy Butler. Kudos: Michael Ritz-Lenox Advisors/NY; Sean Walker-OMG/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Rich Wolfe-Lone Wolfe Press/Scottsdale; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

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